John F. Silver
In a game that featured more twists than turns than a spy novel, UConn had a rousing victory in its grasp.
Then the Hoyas, No. 7 in the country for a reason, snatched it away.
When it came time for the stars to rise, Porter stepped up to the plate.
Porter’s layup in transition with 8.2 seconds left completed an 8-0 run to end the game and UConn’s Ryan Boatright’s last second heave banked off the side of the rim as Georgetown stunned UConn in double overtime 79-78 before a capacity crowd at Gampel Pavilion.
Porter, the likely Big East Player of the Year, finished with 22 points, 21 in the second half and overtimes, and the Huskies were left stunned.
DeAndre Daniels scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Huskies, which forced overtime by scoring five points in the final 11 seconds of regulation with an Omar Calhoun 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left stunning the Hoyas.
The teams played to a draw in the second overtime and at 69-69 went to the second overtime.
That’s where the Huskies looked like they were going to take control. Daniels, who outplayed Porter for much of the night and was a lockdown defender, hit a 3-pointer to open the second overtime. Shabazz Napier added a 3-pointer after a Georgetown basket and it was 75-71. Two free throws by Niels Giffey and then 1 of 2 free throws by Napier had the Huskies leading 78-71 with 2:03 left.
The crowd rose to its feet sensing a court-rushing win.
Georgetown didn’t panic.
Porter, who was outplayed at times by Daniels, sank a 3-pointer from the wing with 1:49 left. After a missed 3-pointer by Napier and then a UConn turnover, D’Vaun Rivera-Smith cut the lead to 78-77 with another 3-pointer.
The Huskies had a chance to extend the lead, but Napier lost the ball with the shot clock running down and Georgetown went out on the break. They found Porter on the wing and he drive to the basket as Georgetown took the lead.
“(Porter) makes wining plays, ” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “I said let’s get a stop and get Otto the ball and go. If I didn’t like I saw I was going to call timeout. We wanted to have an advantage in transition. We got ball to the right person and got to the win.”
Boatright took the inbounds pass and dribbled up the floor. He couldn’t break free and was forced to the corner getting off a contested shot that kissed off the back board and rimmed out.
The crowd was silenced and the Huskies were stunned. Porter, who had one point and one shot in the first half, had another Player of Year highlight to showcase.
“We just didn’t cut (Porter off),” Ollie said. “We let him get all the way to the lane.”
Napier scored 16 points for the Huskies despite playing with an injured right foot with all the points coming in the second half and overtimes. Markel Starks added 19 for Georgetown.
It was a reversal of fortune for the Huskies, almost as quick as it turned the tables on Georgetown at the end of regulation. UConn trailed by as many as 12 in the second half and five with 11 seconds left. Then, the Huskies got a layup from Calhoun (13 points) to cut the lead to 62-59 with lees than eight seconds left. UConn fouled Starks, and he missed the front end of a one-and-one. Calhoun then broke free on the win and canned a 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
It was a rush for the Huskies to stay in the game, in the end, Porter and the Hoyas turned the tables.
“It was a very, very, very, very emotional game, man,” Boatright said. “These games are the toughest pills swallow.”
UConn falls to 19-8, 9-6 in the Big East with three to play. Georgetown improves to 22-4, 12-3 in conference.
UConn plays at Cincinnati on Saturday.